Sources told ESPN that Wisconsin has targeted Luke Fickell to be the school’s next head coach. No deal has been signed, but the Badgers are pushing hard to try and land Fickell in the next 48 hours.
Vickel led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff last season and went 57-18 in his six years there. Fickell’s 2021 Bearcats went 13-0 before losing to Alabama in the College Football Playoff game, becoming the first team from Group 5 to reach the CFP.
Fickell has strong Big Ten roots, having been a longtime assistant coach and coordinator at Ohio State and played there at the college level. He has been picky about jobs over the years as Cincinnati rose to the top of the G-5, picky about his presence in the Midwest.
Fickel will replace Paul Crist, who was fired midseason after going 67-26 in eight seasons there. He was replaced by Jim Leonard, who was the defensive coordinator and was considered a candidate for the head coaching job.
Fickel’s attraction to the Badgers’ upper echelons, along with his history and roots in the league, is his ability to build a program. Fickell built Cincinnati into one of the best development programs in the country while recruiting lowly recruits and consistently building strong teams.
Last year, Fickell’s Bearcats selected nine players in the NFL Draft, which was third behind Georgia (15) and LSU (10).
Fickel spent one season as the Big Ten’s interim coach, going from 6-7 in 2011 following the firing of Jim Tressel from Ohio State. He stayed patient from there, serving as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer and winning a national championship in the 2014 season.
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Wisconsin is making efforts to hire Luke Fickel as a coach